Famalicão v Benfica
The sixth matchday of the 2022/23 Primeira Liga season kicks off on Friday as Vitória de Guimarães host Santa Clara, followed by Benfica’s trip to Famalicão on Saturday afternoon. Benfica are yet to experience anything other than victory since the arrival of manager Roger Schmidt from PSV Eindhoven in the summer – they have begun the season with 10 straight victories for the first time in 40 years – with nine of those matches seeing them score two goals or more and seven of those seeing them win by a margin of two goals or more.
Whilst Benfica have kicked off their Champions League campaign with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win against Maccabi Haifa at home on Tuesday, they have experienced a fairly tough time of it in the league as of late. After narrowly holding onto a 3-2 win vs. Paços de Ferreira, Benfica conceded the opener for the second straight game as Milutin Osmajić opened the scoring in the 20th minute. David Neres would equalize in the 76th minute with a rocket of a shot, and just minutes after Gonçalo Ramos picked up a second yellow for simulation, Benfica would receive a penalty with João Mário scoring in the final second of the match before taking off his shirt to celebrate and receiving a second yellow.
Not only will Benfica be without Ramos, their starting center forward and top scorer with six goals, or João, their second top-scorer with four goals, but they’ll also be without starting center back Felipe Morato due to injury. I expect summer arrival Petar Musa to slot into the center forward position and 18-year-old António Silva to partner Nicolás Otamendi, but the biggest doubt will be what happens with João Mário suspended. Operating on the left side of the 4-2-3-1, Schmidt’s system has certainly gotten the best out of the Portuguese attacking midfielder and Benfica don’t really have a like-for-like replacement in their squad. Schmidt could shift to a 4-3-3 with summer signing Fredrik Aursnes slotting into midfield alongside Florentino Luís and Enzo Fernández with Rafa Silva being shifted away from the #10 position and towards the left flank alongside Musa and Neres in attack, whilst he could also shift Rafa to the left flank and play Chiquinho or Henrique Araújo in a supporting striker role. Schmidt could decide to rotate even further ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Juventus, and I think that could be just what Benfica need to shake up a team that, despite its perfect record, has encountered some close calls as of late in the Primeira. It will be the first start in Benfica’s attack for Musa, who scored in Boavista’s 5-2 defeat to Famalicão in November and their 2-1 win vs. Famalicão in April, and I’m expecting the Croatian to continue his impressive run of form against Fama. Musa scored 11 goals and 3 assists in his debut Primeira campaign with Boavista before moving to Benfica for €5 million. He has already picked up two assists in five substitute appearances – both coming in a 3-0 win vs. Boavista – and I’m expecting him to open his account as a Benfica player in Famalicão.
Sporting v Portimonense
Rúben Amorim’s Sporting capped off an unforgettable 2021 by hosting Portimonense at the José Alvalade on December 29, with Matheus Reis scoring an own goal in the 21st minute to give Portimonense an early lead, only for the visitors to be reduced to 10 men as Pedro Sá saw a second yellow at the hour-mark. Paulinho levelled the scoring in the 65th minute and grabbed two more goals in the next 18 minutes to seal the comeback, with Lucas Possignolo scoring in the 92nd minute to cause a nervy final minute for the Lions in a 3-2 victory in Lisbon. Five months later, Sporting paid a visit to the Algarve and took the field against Portimonense just minutes after learning that their title defense was no longer – Porto had won the 2021/22 Primeira Liga. Bruno Tabata opened the scoring within 12 minutes against his former side only for Carlinhos to equalize in the 25th minute and Welinton Junior to add another goal for Portimonense. Amorim would sub in Ricardo Esgaio for Matheus Reis at the break and Pablo Sarabia for Pedro Gonçalves in the 56th minute, with Sarabia leading Sporting to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory with a brace in Portimão, with Tabata providing the assist for the second goal. Whilst Sarabia has returned to Paris Saint-Germain following a superb loan spell that saw him rack up 21 goals and 9 assists in all competitions, Tabata joined Brazilian club Palmeiras, with Sporting bringing in Rochinha, Francisco Trincão and Arthur Gomes in the summer window to fill the void in the flanks.
Sporting have won their last eight fixtures against Portimonense, with their last two producing a total of 10 goals, whilst eight of their last ten fixtures featuring over 2.5 goals. I’m expecting something similar in Lisbon. Portimonense have enjoyed a stellar start to the campaign under Paulo Sérgio – since losing 1-0 to Boavista on opening day, the Algarvians have won 3-0 at Paços de Ferreira, beaten Vitória 2-1 at home, won 1-0 at Marítimo, and currently sit fifth in the league table, level on 12 points with Porto and five above Sporting. I’m expecting a match will plenty of goals from either side, and I’m expecting Sporting to come out on top as they look to channel the momentum from their recent 2-0 win at Estoril Praia and 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt and grab their third straight victory as they prepare for a visit from Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur midweek.
Porto v Chaves
The final weekend of August saw two major upsets in Portuguese football as newly promoted Chaves won 2-0 at Sporting whilst Porto lost 3-1 at newly promoted Rio Ave the following day. Rio Ave and Chaves would draw 1-1 the following week, whilst Porto would bounce back with a 2-0 victory at Gil Vicente before taking on Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. Nine months after after losing 3-1 in Porto in the final group stage match – which featured three goals coming after the 89th minute – and being relegated to Europa League knockout round football, Porto would find themselves level 0-0 going into extra time after Mehdi Taremi received a second yellow for simulation in the 81st minute, with Porto battling whilst down a man before eventually conceding to Mario Hermoso in the 91st minute, only for the Spanish center back to handle the ball and concede a penalty just minutes later, with Mateus Uribe equalizing from the spot, only for Antoine Griezmann to score from a corner kick in the final second of the match and snatch a 2-1 win for the Rojiblancos. To add insult to injury, Otávio fractured two ribs in a collision with Hermoso and will now miss at least a month to injury, taking away one of the most indispensable players for Sérgio Conceição.
Porto will be looking to bounce back from their agonizing defeat as they face off against Chaves at the Dragão before hosting Club Brugge and traveling to Estoril Praia. On paper, Porto seem like odds-on favorites to get an easy win, but I wouldn’t be so sure. They have conceded five goals in their last three matches and may struggle to cope with playing twice a week as they attempt to recover from a difficult result to stomach, and they will be taking on a Chaves side that is impressing in their first top-flight season since 2018/19. After losing 1-0 to Vitória de Guimarães on opening day, Chaves have won 2-1 at Marítimo, drawn 1-1 to Vizela, beaten Sporting 2-0 and drawn 1-1 to Rio Ave. They have scored twice in each of their two away matches and have exhibited a daring, attack-minded style of play under Campelos, and between Chaves’ attacking firepower and a Porto side that will be without midfield metronome Otávio and that is still coping from the summer departures of Chancel Mbemba, Fábio Vieira and Vitinha, the chance of both sides finding the back of the net is a lot higher than the odds of 2.45 would suggest, making the potential payout even greater. I’m backing both teams to score in what could be an appetizing match-up at the Dragão.
Rio Ave v Braga
There’s no other way to put it: Braga are flying high under new manager Artur Jorge. After beginning the season with a 3-3 draw to Sporting, erasing three separate deficits to snatch a point at home, Braga have won their next five matches by a combined scoreline of 17-0. Perhaps most importantly, they have kept hold of captain and all-time leading scorer Ricardo Horta amid a summer-long transfer saga with Benfica. After opening his account for the season the previous week in a 6-0 shellacking of Arouca, Horta found himself in prime position to break the deadlock at the hour-mark only for his spot-kick to sail wide, with Vitória holding on and looking set to take a point until the 98th minute, when Horta chipped in a free kick for Vítor Tormena to head home to snatch a 1-0 victory in the Dérbi do Minho. The following match would see Braga score after a half-hour as Paulo Oliviera headed a corner kick from Horta into the path of Bruno Rodrigues who converted from close range, with Horta adding a second goal from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.
Braga have won with a two-goal cushion in four of their last fixtures, and I’m expecting them to continue that pattern as they travel to Rio Ave ahead of a week that will see them host Union Berlin and Vizela. Whilst Braga have the best attack in Portugal with 18 goals in their first 5, Rio Ave have conceded 8 in their first 5 – only Arouca, Paços de Ferreira and Marítimo have conceded more. With Simon Banza and Vitinha wreaking havoc up top in Artur Jorge’s 4-4-2, with Ricardo Horta and Iuri Medeiros providing ample creativity from the flanks alongside midfield duo André Horta (Ricardo’s younger brother) and Al Musrati, and Diego Lainez and Abel Ruiz offering dynamism from off the bench, Braga are looking like a force to be reckoned with, combining defensive solidity with an unstoppable front four. They find themselves second in the league, two points behind Benfica, one point above Porto and Portimonense and six above Sporting, with the sale of Portuguese center back David Carmo to Porto barely being noticed with Braga stringing together five clean sheets in a row. Braga made history when they achieved their first ever second-place finish in 2009/10, finishing five points behind Benfica, but they have been unable to sustain a title challenge and stake their claim to being included alongside Benfica, Porto and Sporting in Portugal’s Mount Rushmore. By keeping hold of Horta and bringing in promising talents like Banza, Lainez and Sikou Niakaté, Braga may just have what it takes to mount an assault on the throne as they look to become the third team from outside of Os Tres Grândes (the Big Three) to win the Primeira Liga. I’m expecting them to take care of business with another victory and at least a two-goal margin in Vila de Conde.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Back the Four & Five Star Selections as an Accumulator on Betfair ⬇️
*Bet link only appears when accessing from mobile.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 13/1 Primeira Liga Best Bets Accumulator. Here are the two possible outcomes: